Celebrity presenters look at the development of the NHS through their own experiences. In this episode, Lucy Alexander finds out about how the NHS looks after children.
Lucy Alexander finds out about how the NHS looks after children and treats those with disabilities. Lucy's daughter Kitty suffered from transverse myelitis when she was seven. It is a rare neurological disorder where the body's immune system reacts to an infection causing inflammation and scarring in the spinal cord. The disease left her daughter fighting for her life and unable to walk.
With her husband Stewart, Lucy goes back to Evelina London, the children's hospital where Kitty was first treated, and talks to the doctors and nurses in the intensive care unit who saved her life. It was here that Kitty almost died, and there is an emotional reunion with the consultant who made the crucial decision of when to take her off life support.
While she is at the hospital, Lucy learns about how the NHS has looked after children throughout its history and talks to staff and patients in the hospital today. One mother is waiting anxiously for a cuddle with her six-month-old daughter who is still on a ventilator recovering from a heart operation. Lucy is able to share her experiences as a mum and witness the moment when baby Ruby comes off the ventilator.
Thinking about her daughter's disability, Lucy also meets with a group of people who have lived with disability since the beginning of the NHS. In a moving discussion, they talk about their often difficult experiences within a system that was often far too institutionalised.
Lucy ends the programme by going with her daughter to the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire. Kitty spent three months in rehabilitation here getting support and physiotherapy. The family say thank you to the nurses responsible for her care and there is a tearful response as Lucy concludes that while the 'NHS might not be perfect, this journey has shown me how far it's come, and the fact the Kitty will grow up to be a happy, productive adult is the greatest gift the NHS could have given us.'.
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